Classically trained on the violin since the age of 6, and self-taught on the guitar, Toby Lightman was unaware of her vocal talent until her high school graduation, when she performed her first solo. This would be Lightman’s first public performance as a singer. The crowd’s overwhelming tear filled reaction propelled her to buy her first guitar and write her first song; which led to her landing a major record deal with Lava/Atlantic Records just one year out of college. Lightman felt strongly about carrying her classical and self taught musical knowledge into her new passion for songwriting, while she completed her degree.
Toby Lightman’s debut album Little Things appeared on the “Billboard Top 100” in its very first week, and gave way to comparisons like Lauryn Hill, Sheryl Crow and Norah Jones. Her first single “Devils and Angels” which highlighted Lightman’s unique rhythmic guitar playing and blue eyed soulful voice, landed in the Top 20 on the Hot AC radio charts for over 30 weeks. Lightman received high praise from Rolling Stone, People, Billboard and various others, which led to appearances on Letterman, Carson Daly, Conan, TRL, CBS Morning Show as well as extensive touring with artists such as Rob Thomas, Jewel, James Blunt, Gavin DeGraw, Train, Marc Cohn, and a special evening opening for the legendary Prince, an artist that Lightman grew up idolizing. During their meeting, Lightman learned from Prince himself, that he saw her perform on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and could see her unique talent as a guitar player and singer. He encouraged her to break from the confines of the industry norms and continued to watch her career blossom over the years.
As an independent artist, Lightman has gone on to have over 100 significant song placements in various films, tv shows and commercials such her recent placements on CBS’s The Rookie, Fox’s Monarch and commercials for the NFL and Montefiore. Lightman appeared as the first independent recording artist on HSN, selling out her album Let Go within minutes. Since becoming a mother, Lightman has had the joy of writing many songs for the well-known PBS show Sesame Street; having her work sung by beloved characters as well as guest performers such as Kelsea Ballerini and Rashida Jones.
Following in her idol, Prince’s, footsteps, Lightman self-produced her 6th studio and latest album entitled AFTER ALL, which she released in November 2022. Through her sultry vocals and soothingly epic productions, the album focuses on themes of womanhood; the trials of becoming a mother while struggling through infertility and loss. In her relatable songwriting, and her epically glorious productions, Lightman confidently sings encouragingly to herself through her own personal hard times, while reeling her listener in with messages of strength, support and comfort. Lightman is currently working on a unique children’s project as well as a collection of cover songs that artists that have crossed her path, like Prince and Isaac Hayes, had suggested she record. Toby is currently a voting member of the Recording Academy.
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